New evidence that our approach to teaching Shakespeare works

Studying Shakespeare the RSC way can significantly improve students’ language skills – with some schools reporting better SATs and GCSE English scores.

New research from The University of Warwick shows that our approach to studying Shakespeare can significantly improve student language acquisition and skills.

The research involved 100 schools from our Associate Schools' Programme and evaluated the impact of our theatre-based approaches on the language development of children and young people. 

  • 95% of teachers said that working with the RSC resulted in their students becoming more willing to contribute ideas and opinions in class
  • 94% said it helped young people ‘find their voice’ – improving language skills and confidence to use language (reading, writing, speaking)
  • 95% of teachers reported an increase in confidence and self-belief
  • The way of working particularly benefited boys who had been considered ‘disengaged’ or low-level learners
3 boys with rolled up script in hand, arm raised and shouting
Photo by Rob Freeman © RSC Browse and license our images

The research also revealed that our approaches were especially helpful in preparing students for the new GCSE exam. One Blackpool Primary School Headteacher reported that Key Stage 2 SATs results in English Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (EGPS) rose from 41.7% to 96.7%. 

Developing long-term partnerships with schools and regional theatres (schools sign up for a minimum of two-years) was critical to the programme's success. 

The research and its findings will be the focus of Raising Achievement and Aspirations Through Shakespeare: A Symposium for Headteachers and Curriculum Leaders at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre on Friday 22 June 2018.